Pets as a Perk? Create a Pet Policy to Keep Employees Happy & Healthy in the Workplace

Ready to bring some paw-sitive vibes into the workplace?
More companies are becoming pet-friendly as a way to keep employees happy and to attract new talent with a unique employee benefit. If you’re interested in becoming a pet-friendly office, there’s no better time than now. You’d also be joining the likes of companies like Etsy, Amazon and Google.

Throughout the pandemic, 23 million households gained a new furry companion, according to a survey done by the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

If you’re having a hard time luring employees back to work, a pet at home could be the reason. For a pet owner, the idea of returning to an office and leaving their furry family member behind is a bummer.

Most pet lovers will agree there’s nothing better than looking into the eyes of a happy pet. Research has long indicated pets are good for humans’ health and vice versa. Pets provide companionship and exercise opportunities and can even lengthen their human’s life.

And how Floridians love their pets — in Florida alone, 56% of households have a pet. If you’re a business owner looking to upgrade work policies, you may consider letting your employees bring Fido to work.

The Benefits of Pets at Work

If you need more convincing than a look of puppy dog eyes, there is plenty of research to back up the benefits of a pet-friendly work environment. For starters, it can help reduce employee stress, increase productivity and create a more friendly work environment.

To name a few other benefits:

  • Pets increase human clarity and concentration – Washington State University researchers discovered when people interacted with dogs, their ability to think, plan and concentrate was enhanced. Even better is that the effect lasted up to six weeks later.
  • Pets offer emotional support – The University of York and the University of Lincoln found pets reduce stress because they are often tuned into human emotions and can provide emotional support. Just think of how much less stressful staff meetings would be with pets in tow!
  • Strengthens working relationships – Because of their innate playful natures, pets create camaraderie within the workplace among colleagues. They also may encourage interactions between workers, especially those who may generally be withdrawn or shy.
  • Better health for workers – The University of Southern California reported that pets provide calming effects, including lowering stress levels and reducing blood pressure.

On the other hand, some employees may see pets at work as disruptive. It can also cause issues for those who have asthma or allergies, so it’s important to keep those folks in mind if you’re looking at creating a pet policy.

Creating a Pet Policy in the Workplace

Why not create a pet policy if your company doesn’t have one? Luckily, more workers are interested in and supportive of the idea of pets at work. One study by LiveCareer found that 76% of those who had worked in a pet-friendly workplace had a positive experience.

Ready to create a pets at work policy? Here are some guidelines to consider:

  • Ask about allergies – If any of your employees have a severe allergy to pets, it’s important to know that before allowing pets in the office. Consider running an anonymous survey to ask about anyone with allergies before spending too much time on the idea.
  • Request trial runs – It’s essential for pets to be comfortable in an office environment. Some animals may get stressed out by the noise and constant movement. Consider asking pet owners to keep their pets at home if they become a distraction or don’t seem to be a good office fit.
  • Create strong requirements – Ready to go for it? Be sure to have solid requirements for any pets that come into the workplace. That may include line items like knowing the animal is potty trained, friendly, a certain age, vaccinated, etc.
  • Require clean-ups – Pet owners should be responsible and clean up after their pets both inside and outside. Make it easier (and more sanitary) for dog owners to toss bags after a potty break by having a dog clean-up station outside.
  • Inform all employees of dietary restrictions – It’s important to note some pets may not be able to share the same treats or may gobble up another dog’s food if it’s left unattended. Be sure everyone is aware of basic group play dog rules — like asking if it’s okay for a dog to have a treat prior to giving it — for a successful pet-friendly office experience.

If you’re looking to create a happier, healthier workplace, consider how to make your employees’ furry companions a part of it, too. Healthy human-animal bonds can happen between 9-to-5, and the pet owner isn’t the only one benefiting, either. In a post-pandemic world, pets can offer stress relief, icebreakers, entertainment and more as a way to relieve stress in working environments.

When you set appropriate office pet policies, pets in the office can offer a happiness boost for everyone in the office, including employees, customers and even leadership. Still not sure about the idea? Give a “Bring Your Pet to Work Day” a try and see how it goes.

Mark your calendar:

Bring Your Pet to Work Day is celebrated nationally on the Friday following Father’s Day.